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The most remote inhabited archipelago on Earth, Hawaii is exotic, diverse, and one of the world's most popular tropical destinations known for almost perfect year-round weather, seldom below 72 or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything you'd expect in a tropical paradise is here: pristine beaches, magnificent snorkeling and diving, big-wave surfing, dramatic interior mountains, lush rainforests, a rich local culture, and plenty of sunshine.

Seven inhabited islands — Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, the Big Island of Hawaii, Lanai and Niihau — lie in the North Pacific below the Tropic of Cancer, 1,700 miles above the Equator. These ...

The most remote inhabited archipelago on Earth, Hawaii is exotic, diverse, and one of the world's most popular tropical destinations known for almost perfect year-round weather, seldom below 72 or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything you'd expect in a tropical paradise is here: pristine beaches, magnificent snorkeling and diving, big-wave surfing, dramatic interior mountains, lush rainforests, a rich local culture, and plenty of sunshine.

Seven inhabited islands — Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, the Big Island of Hawaii, Lanai and Niihau — lie in the North Pacific below the Tropic of Cancer, 1,700 miles above the Equator. These peaks of ancient volcanic sea mounts compose the world's longest island chain stretching 1,305 miles from South Point (the southernmost point of the United States) on the Big Island of Hawaii, to Kure Atoll, in the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, now a marine preserve.

The Hawaiian Islands claim other superlatives, including Mauna Kea, tallest mountain on earth (measuring from the sea floor); Haleakala, biggest dormant volcano; Waialeale, wettest spot on earth; and Kilauea, most active volcano on the planet.

Roughly 1 million people live in Honolulu, the beach city on Oahu and state capital, and most visitors arrive at Honolulu International Airport, although the outer islands have direct flights from the US and Japan. Everyone comes for their own reasons, but all leave with the same sense of "aloha spirit," the warm welcome that greets visitors and is genuinely extended by the people lucky enough to call Hawaii home.

Rick Carroll
About the Expert

Rick Carroll has written dozens of articles on Hawaii and the Pacific. His books include Great Outdoor Adventures of Hawaii, Madame Pele: True Encounters with Hawaii's Fire Goddess, and Travelers' Tales Hawaii.

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Rick Carroll for Triporati

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